Orion Completes Testing at Plum Brook
The team at Plum Brook performed two very important tests to get Orion ready to carry astronauts to the Moon, Mars and beyond:
- Thermal Vacuum/Thermal Balance test –This test assessed more than 1,000 measurements installed on the flight vehicle by putting the Orion spacecraft in a simulated deep space environment. The data collected here proves the vehicle’s design is sound and will be used to optimize planned spaceflight operations. The test also verified Orion’s thermal control system by putting the vehicle through two thermal cycles — with extreme temperatures ranging from -250°F to 145°F — and four performance tests (two at hot, two at cold).
- Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)/Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) test – During this test, the team monitored operations of 140 flight critical functions of the spacecraft. The test covered 90 simulated mission events for an Artemis flight to the Moon and back. The EMI test exposed the vehicle to 73 frequencies, performed across 19 test runs.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor building NASA's Orion, the only spacecraft designed for long-duration, human deep space exploration. Orion is NASA's deep space exploration spacecraft that will carry astronauts from Earth to the Moon and bring them home safely.
Currently in the production phase, we have finalized a contract for six Orion spacecraft missions and the ability to order up to 12 in total. The first spacecraft delivered on this contract, Artemis III, will carry the first woman and the next man to the Moon in 2024. Orion is a critical part of the agency's Artemis program to build a sustainable presence on the lunar surface and to prepare us to move on to Mars.